Anyone following the production of Metal Gear Solid 5: The Phantom Pain, will have seen the current drama surrounding Hideo Kojima. Having gone uncharacteristically quiet on social media since March 16th, fans are worried that he’s either left Konami, or has been fired from his job. Either way, it’s not great news for the latest MGS installment.
Rumours have been flying since then, but no one’s really sure where he’s gone. The simplest explanation is that he’s simply hard at work in the run up to launch on MGSV, but it is unusual to remove himself from the spotlight. Konami has been seen to be stripping its branding from Metal Gear Solid products, including websites for The Phantom Pain, fuelling rumours that they were no longer working with Kojima. A GameSpot report from an anonymous source claimed that there had been a falling out between Kojima and Konami, leading to restricted access to company services such as emails. Essentially, they said, the team working on Phantom Pain are now contractors, rather than Konami staff, making their future uncertain.
The news was confirmed by MGS voice actress Donna Burke, who tweeted that Kojima had been fired from Konami, and would be leaving the company after MGSV launches. Even with this information, fans were divided on what was actually happening. Contradictory news has been popping up everywhere online, and Silent Hill fans have been dubious as they believe that Kojima wouldn’t up and abandon Silent Hills, especially after the hugely popular P.T. demo.
Long time fans aren’t overly surprised by this news, however. Kojima has been known for making threats to abandon Metal Gear Solid and Konami in the past, so current events are almost business as usual. However, this has been the most public and publicly dissected event so far.
The current word is that Kojima is not actually leaving, after Burke clarified her statement on Twitter. She said, ‘Konami is correct in that Kojima has not in fact been fired. As I stated previously he and his team are still working hard on getting the game out.’ She explained her actions, saying that ‘I was trying to add my voice to Otsuka-san pleading with the fans not to abandon MSGV because of the stuff happening at Konami and to throw my support behind Kojima and everyone who has worked over the last five years and is working to make this game the greatest game ever.’
After this backpedaling and rather dubious reasoning, it’s easy to assume that whole thing has simply been a publicity stunt for MGSV. After all, Kojima is a man known well for his public antics and theatrics. However, was it successful? Are people now talking more about MGSV, or are they now more worried about Kojima’s career? Has he finally eclipsed his own game?